Last January, the captain of the Italian mega-cruise ship Costa Concordia committed an apparent act of maritime bravado a few yards from the shore of a Tuscan island. Thirty people were killed, and two are still missing.
Six months after one of the biggest passenger shipwrecks in recent history, relatives of the dead attended a memorial service Friday near the site of the disaster.
The solemn notes of Mozart's Requiem echoed through the small church of Saints Lorenzo and Mamiliano on the island of Giglio.
Fifty years ago this week, communications went global. July 12, 1962 the Telstar 1 satellite from AT&T became the first commercial spacecraft to beam television images from the United States to Europe.
There may be no better town in America for observing the heavens than Tucson, Arizona. It has low humidity, high elevation and a darkened desert. That part of the state has attracted quite a few astronomers, both professional and amateur. We sent NPR's Peter Breslow to Tucson to seek out this community of stargazers.
This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.
There's more gloomy news from the eurozone this week. Italy saw its sovereign debt rating lowered by one agency, at just a couple of notches above junk status. In Spain, civil servants, coalminers, and others took to the streets once again to protest more spending cuts and tax hikes. And Germany's highest court heard arguments challenging the constitutionality of two measures considered central to efforts to try to contain the euro crisis.
It's been over a week since scientists announced that they've found the Higgs boson particle. It's an important discovery. They say that although the Higgs boson particle is small - or, come to think of it, perhaps because of it - it holds the universe together. But for all the publicity the particle's received, how many of us could explain what it actually does? Well, here's the announcement from scientists in Switzerland.
Fresh Air Weekend highlights some of the best interviews and reviews from past weeks, and new program elements specially paced for weekends. Our weekend show emphasizes interviews with writers, filmmakers, actors, and musicians, and often includes excerpts from live in-studio concerts. This week:
The office of U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. initially said he had gone into seclusion for exhaustion. Later, that was revised to a mood disorder.
The 1972 Democratic ticket of George McGovern (right) for president and Thomas F. Eagleton for vice president lasted only 18 days. Eagleton was dropped after telling reporters he'd had electroshock treatments for depression.
We may never know all the reasons why Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., has dropped out of sight, but history teaches us that if a public figure is linked to "exhaustion," the word can be code for something more problematic than simply being tired.
Ibrahim al-Qosi, shown here on July 11 in Khartoum, Sudan, was released from Guantanamo Bay prison this week after spending a decade there. He was Osama bin Laden's former driver, and he pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy with al-Qaida and supporting terrorism. There are now 168 prisoners remaining at Guantanamo.
The latest detainee to leave the Guantanamo Bay prison boarded an Air Force jet earlier this week. His destination: Sudan. The man, 52-year-old Ibrahim al-Qosi, had admitted to being Osama bin Laden's bookkeeper, driver and sometime cook, and he was one of the first prisoners to arrive at Guantanamo in 2002.
Now, he is the latest to leave. His departure brings the total detainee population at the U.S. naval base in Cuba down to 168 — from a high of 680 in May 2003.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney sat for a hastily arranged flurry of TV interviews Friday, strongly denying he had any role in running Bain Capital at a time when, according to reports, the company invested in firms that outsourced jobs overseas.
He also called for an apology from President Obama for statements by his campaign that Romney said were beneath the dignity of the presidency.
As the French people celebrate their revolution on Saturday, Bastille Day, the founding principles — liberte, egalite and fraternite — seem to be alive and well.
New President Francois Hollande embraced equality on the campaign trail this spring. To reduce the French deficit, he proposed raising taxes on large corporations and the super-rich. The move helped his campaign take off, says Gerald Andrieu, a political journalist with Marianne magazine.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block. Republican Mitt Romney gave a rare round of interviews today to reporters from five TV networks, in which he stood by his assertions that he had no active role in running Bain Capital after 1999. And he called on President Obama to apologize for comments from his campaign.
MITT ROMNEY: It's disgusting. It's demeaning. It's something which I think the president should take responsibility for, and stop.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
Visa, MasterCard and some of the biggest banks in the U.S. have agreed to a historic settlement of more than $6 billion in a class action lawsuit brought on behalf of more than 7 million merchants. NPR's Steve Henn has been reviewing this settlement agreement. He joins me now. And, Steve, what's this case about?
This product image released by Ralph Lauren shows U.S. Olympic athletes, from left, swimmer Ryan Lochte, decathlete Bryan Clay, rower Giuseppe Lanzone and soccer player Heather Mitts modeling the the official Team USA Opening Ceremony Parade Uniform.
It was one of the few issues, both Republicans and Democrats in Congress agreed on: They were outraged that the uniforms to be worn by U.S. Olympic athletes at the London Summer Games were made in China.
As we told you, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid went so far as to say that the Olympic committee should "put [the uniforms] in a big pile and burn them."
Once upon a time — just a few weeks ago, in fact — the story of Bain Capital was a useful and easy one for Mitt Romney. His years running the private equity firm had taught him how jobs are created, a skill he would bring with him to the White House.
And what of the negative consequences from Bain's involvement in various companies? The layoffs? The plant closings? The outsourcing of jobs to China?
Paul Morgan met his wife, Evelyn Oyuki Morgan, during his two-year Mormon mission to Mexico. Today, they belong to a Spanish-speaking Mormon congregation and speak Spanish at home with their two daughters, Isabella and Amaya.
Credit Andrea Hsu / NPR
Daryl Williams is an attorney and a senior figure in the Mormon church in the Phoenix area. His discomfort with Arizona's immigration law led him to take up the issue at town hall events across the state.
Mitt Romney is the most famous Mormon running for office this fall. But he's far from the only one.
In Arizona, two other members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — Rep. Jeff Flake and businessman Wil Cardon — are vying for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate.
All three candidates have said they'll be tough on immigration. And while Mormons in Arizona have been closely identified with conservative politics, the immigration debate has exposed a rare divide on the issue.
When a private firm failed to meet its promise of providing enough guards for the Olympics, the British military was called in to "mind the gap" in security.
But even though the government is bringing in those troops — as well as RAF Typhoon combat jets, surface-to-air missiles on rooftops, and an aircraft carrier on the River Thames — organizers say it will still look like the Summer Games, and not war games.
Attendees of Apple's 2012 World Wide Developers Conference look at the new MacBook Pro with Retina display.
Credit Kiichiro Sato / AP
Hundreds of people line up outside an Apple store in Chicago to buy the iPhone 4 in 2010. Apple had removed its products from EPEAT's registry of environmentally friendly electronic devices but later reversed course.
It's not often that one of the world's biggest companies says, "We goofed."
But in a surprising turn of events Friday, Apple admitted it made a mistake in pulling out of an environmental rating system for computers and other electronics. The company said it would rejoin the so-called EPEAT certification system, placing all 39 of its originally certified products back on the list. The company is also requesting certification for more products, including its new MacBook Pro model.
We want to remind everybody they can join us here most weeks at the Chase Bank Auditorium. For tickets and more information, go to wbez.org, or you can find a link at our website: waitwait.npr.org. Right now, panel, time for you to answer some questions about this week's news.
Roxanne, the U.S. Olympic uniforms were unveiled this week. Ralph Lauren designed them. They're supposed to represent the best of American values. But some are upset with these outfits. Why?
Visa and Mastercard have announced that they will pay retailers more than $6 billion to settle several class-action and individual lawsuits retailers have filed since 2005.
According to a Wall Street Journal story from earlier this month, the settlement stems from complaints that Visa and MasterCard, the largest card-payments networks in the world, prohibited retailers from imposing surcharges to customers using those credit cards.
As the financial crisis began to unfold in 2007, the New York Federal Reserve learned that some banks might have intentionally underestimated the rates they expected to pay for loans from other banks.
Documents the New York Fed released Friday, in response to a request from Congress, show that the banking regulator began to be concerned about the accuracy of LIBOR — or the London Interbank Offered Rate — late in 2007.